How to Write a Resume (for Teens) Part I

So you want a job.  And you’re not sure why you can’t get one, why nobody in the adult world (except maybe your parents) recognizes your “brilliance, work ethic, and deep sense of responsibility.”

Part of the problem is that you don’t know how to communicate who you are to others.  In other words, you don’t know how to write a resume that stands out.  It’s ok if you don’t know how to write an interesting resume.  Some of my best employees don’t know how to write a compelling resume.  It just means you’re not a good writer and you don’t know much about yourself and others. Writing a resume is about self-reflection, about knowing who you are and what others expect of you.

Here’s a resume writing guide I share with my callow employees.  But before we begin, let’s make sure you’re approaching this exercise with the right frame of mind.

Realize you produce negative value when you start work.  Most of you are too self-absorbed and self-centered to realize this.  (And I’m not sure why parents don’t make them realize this). Just because you think you’re working doesn’t mean you’re producing value.  In other words, you don’t produce enough money to cover the cost of training you. It costs businesses a lot of money to train new employees in hope that they’ll someday produce positive value and stick around.  A business is taking a chance on you when they hire you.  And businesses don’t like taking chances on the untested, especially when the state minimum wage is as high as it is.  Understanding why you can’t find a job is the first step toward finding a job.

Let’s begin.

Writing the OBJECTIVE.

The OBJECTIVE introduces yourself to the reader.  Who you are, what you want, and why reader should continue to learn more about you.  You have one or two sentences and fewer than 40 words to make the busy reader want to learn more about you.

To write a compelling and believable OBJECTIVE, you have to know who you are and what you want.  To begin, list:

1. One to five life goals.
2. Five qualities about yourself (eg. I’m hard-working, I’m smart, I’m lazy, I’m a dumbass)
3. Evidence of those qualities (I have a perfect SAT score, I’m All-State this or that).
4. Three reasons you want a job
5. Three things you want to get out of a job.

Be honest.  Grade yourself fairly.  Don’t write down what you think others want to hear.  You’re inexperienced, so you’ll likely be wrong about what you think others find interesting.

Does this exercise make you depressed?  Do you feel worthless, confused, directionless?  If you do, there’s hope. You may have an advantage over some of  those who don’t feel as you do.

Again, be honest.  If you don’t care about the whales or the poor and needy, don’t say you want a job so you can help them.  Don’t make up bullshit.

Still can’t write anything? You’re thinking too hard. You don’t need to write shit like: “Hard-working student passionate about animal welfare seeking a position that will utilize my awesome communication skills to provide stellar service to Petco customers. You’re trying too hard to impress. Start simple.  Focus on the basics.  Here’s an example.  Imagine a 16 year old boy searching for his first job.  He lists:

1. I want to get laid
2. I’m horny.  I’m hungry.  I’m bored. I’m really horny.  I’m still hungry.
3. I think about sex most of the day. I eat a lot. I don’t do anything when I’m not eating or thinking about sex. I watched porn for 12 hours yesterday. I also ate 5 large pizzas yesterday.
4. I want something to do after school and during weekend. I want money to help me get laid.  I want money to get a car so I can hang out with friends when I want.
5. I want to meet girls.  I want to go out with boss’s daughter, she’s hot.  I want employee discount so I can buy doritos at discount.

So, first draft of the OBJECTIVE:

OBJECTIVE: To find a job that will help me get laid.

It’s primal, it’s honest, it’s *believable.*  It’s better than most objectives I read. Send this out, put it on craigslist RESUMES, and you’ll get more responses than the usual trite bullshit people post. But we can do better.  This is just the first draft.

It’s that simple.  Want a job so you can get away from your mom?  Put that down.  Want clothes?   Sure, why not?  Just get something down.

In Part II, we’ll revise (or not) OBJECTIVE.

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